Updated as of 10:02 a.m. EDT: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in London that the U.S. and Russia would focus on combatting the Islamic State group. "Our focus remains on destroying ISIL [Islamic State group militants] and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria, which we believe cannot be achieved with the long-term presence of [President Bashar] Assad," Kerry told reporters, according to Reuters. "We’re looking for ways in which to find a common ground."

Original story: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the U.S. was ready to begin direct talks with Russia over the situation in Syria. The announcement comes at a moment of high tensions between Washington, D.C., and Moscow over Russia’s involvement in both Syria and Ukraine.

“The president believes that a military-to-military conversation is an important next step, and I think, hopefully, it will take place very shortly,” said Kerry, according to the New York Times.

While no date has been given, the U.S. hinted Thursday that it would be interested in talking directly with Moscow.

Russia has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad and in recent weeks has sent military supplies and personnel to the war-torn nation. The war in Syria which began in 2011 has left over 200,000 dead and displaced millions.